Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Guest Review: The Jerusalem Bible Compact Readers Edition

Thanks to reader Rolf for this guest review of The Jerusalem Bible Compact Readers Edition.

I was in the market for a leather Reader's Edition of the Jerusalem Bible (which has minimal notes), but I was not looking for a compact. It has been my experience that most compacts have a print size so small (and cramped) that I can read it for more than a few minutes at a time. It takes a lot of looking around to find anything in this category for the Jerusalem Bible.

I was online on Amazon a couple of days ago scanning through listings (most were out of print - unavailable). I found a listing for a Jerusalem Reader's Edition, near new in black leather. This was what I was looking for, but there was no mention of it being compact. The price was $38 plus $4.99 shipping. I received the Bible in a couple of days and after my first initial concern at the size of the Bible, I was presently surprised. 

This Compact Reader's edition is published by DoubleDay (ISBN# O 385 15565 4), but it looks a lot more like a Cambridge Bible! 

The Bible (see photos) measures roughly 7 1/2 inches x 5 inches x 1 1/4 inches (measurements taken on leather cover. In comparison, I have a compact 1970 NAB in leather and it measures 6 3/4 inches x 5 inches x 1 1/4 inches.

The leather has a similar texture and is a little bit softer and more flexible than my Cambridge NRSV Bible in French Morocco leather, but it is not as flexible as those goatskin Bibles that I have seen online.I checked google for the ISBN # and one of the listings came back as a compact in sheepskin leather black (but I can't find that listing after checking for it again). So I am calling it genuine leather for now.
The front and end pages are very similar as to what is in my Cambridge Bible. The book block is sewn  not glued The Bible paper has nearly the same feel and color as the Cambridge Bible, but slightly thinner. And of course slightly thinner means slightly more bleed thought but it is very well controlled. The print is in single column form, it is approx 7- 7 1/2 font size and is dark and very well spaced!

There is one black ribbon marker. There are brief introductions to all of the Bible books, and brief footnotes at the bottom of the right side facing page (which include referenced verse numbers for quotes from other Bible books).

Like I said before, I am not a fan of small print Bibles( less than size 8), but I found this one surprising easy to read (see photos). This one is a joy to carry around in you hand due to the size and the semi-yapp leather cover, which make it comfortable to carry from either end. The quality is nice and it is a good looking Bible!

Unfortunately these leather Reader's Edition Jerusalem Bibles are hard to find, and the information online can be sketchy.


losabio said...

I love the JB, and I have never seen the reader's edition. I think that layout's great! I imagine that it would've been too cramped in there, had they tried to fit in the cross references, parallels, study notes, etc. from the regular JB. Thank you very much for the review, and congrats on finding that terrific old Bible. Just imagine: that book was likely languishing away in some box for years and years before you discovered it. Seller got some moolah, you got a sweet Bible, and the JB finally gets to be read and appreciated. Gotta love when the Internet can connect people for good things like this.

Anonymous said...


I acquired the near new burgundy version of this edition on a Buy It Now auction on eBay a few years ago for $25.00. They normally sell on eBay for about $80.00 (when you can catch an auction), so you got a great deal! Mine came with the box and it is indeed a sheepskin leather cover.

As a reminder to those who like the JB, the Catholic Truth Society publishes various editions of the JB. They're not reader's editions, but still worth considering.


Michael P.

rolf said...

Michael, thank you for the information. I had the CTS Jerusalem Bible for a little while, but I found it harder to read than this Compact Bible. The print on the CTS Bible was not as dark and well spaced so IMHO it did not deal as well with the page bleed through as this Bible does.

Eric Barczak said...

Which size CTS Bible did you have rolf?

rolf said...

Eric, I had the bigger one (presentation edition).

Eric Barczak said...

Thanks rolf. I've been thinking about the CTS version, but not so sure given the size of the type.

RebelWIL said...

I have been in the market for a Jerusalem Bible (© 1966) which is a great version compared to the many other revised Jerusalem Bibles.
I was blessed a few months ago to not only participate in an online giveaway here but I was sent the expanded boxed edition which blew my mind!
Now this bible is by far NOT one to carry around too much but for study with over 10,000 pages and about 5lbs. at that.
But the beauty of this book is in the translation of the ©1966 version with all the full notes that most others do not have.
I think that it's size and depth of the translation made it a very hard sell back in '60 as it would today.
I just thought I should say THANK YOU again for this most wonderful gift I use almost everyday.

Dr. William Conley Th.D., Ph.D.
Social Theology

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for a Jerusalem Bible like this for a LONG time! I have several editions of the 1966... the old Red hard cover and two of the simulated leather covers.. one brown and one black... (AWFUL covers - they feel like plastic). But they have full contents - notes AND crossreferences. They ARE sewn bindings which means they can be rebound in quality leather but the rebinding cost would be astronomical. There are a LOT of Catholics who love the JB 1966. What will it take to get editions like this one published again in quality leather and sewn bindings?!?! ~ Dave

David Garcia said...

I am STILL trying to find a copy of this Reader's Edition!!!

i had purchased the CTS edition (knowing they changed Yahweh to Lord) and loved it when I received it! But what happened? I found out AFTERWARDS that the CTS has the Grail Psalms, not the original JB1966 Psalms (which are SO much more poetic and impactful). I was so bummed! So the CTS *is* a really good Bible, but without the original Psalms it's been shelved.

If anyone happens to come across an available copy of this JB1966 Compact Reader's Edition (either to purchase or sell) PLEASE let me know!!!!


David Garcia said...

I found it! I found it!!! I am busting as I was able to locate a brand new, mint copy of this gem!! Wasn't cheap but being that the Jerusalem Bible is still my overall favorite translation, it's worth it! LOL!! Thanks ROLF for making me/us aware of this Bible. I am really excited!

rolf said...

Great Dave! I bring mine to work every day. It is the perfect size, the smaller compact Bibles I can't read because of their tiny print, this one I can read with no problem.

David Garcia said...

Rolf... It arrived today!!! OMG i am in heaven! LOL! I have been looking for 'my' Bible for my entire life and it finally just arrived! I have always loved the full sized 1966 JB layout, font, paper, etc... and to now have all of that in a compact BUT YES, READABLE format (with necessary cross references in the NT and some OT notes) is just incredible! The cover feels great (more like a Cambridge than a plasticy Oxford NABRE), the binding is SEWN (!), and totally portable without destroying my eyes! And while i continue to study using the NABRE because it's the 'Bible of the US Church', the 1966 JB is still my favorite translation and i now have it in a PERFECT form in my hands.

Rolf, thanks so much for making me/us aware of this gem!!! You have no idea how much peace you have brought to my Bible-edition-restless soul... :)

rolf said...

David, glad I could help. This is a comfortable Bible to carry around in your hand. I carried it around in my hand for three days at the Religious Congress in Anaheim (earlier this year) and the semi yapp cover made it comfortable to carry from either side. I also carry it in the cargo pockets of my shorts when I go walking to Barnes and Noble for coffee. It is very useful and it is a nice looking Bible!

Dominic S. said...

Has the Jerusalem Bible been approved by the Church? I came across an edition and went to check inside the cover and couldn't find any ecclesiastical approval. Maybe I just didn't look hard enough...

Canon Law 825 §1 states: "Books of the sacred scriptures cannot be published unless the Apostolic See or the conference of bishops has approved them. For the publication of their translations into the vernacular, it is also required that they be approved by the same authority and provided with necessary and sufficient annotations."
[ Date accessed: 12/8/14]

Timothy said...

It was. Of course, I don't know how exactly that would apply to the original edition, which was published in 1966.

Chez84 said...

That looks like a great compact edition. I personally love the Jerusalem Bible too. I own 3 Bibles in this version - the CTS Compact Bible, the NJB Standard Edition and the JB Readers Edition.

I love my CTS Compact Bible but it's a bit bulky for such a small book so I'm on the lookout for a pocket edition. Looks like this might fit the bill

Chez84 said...

UPDATE I finally secured a copy of the Jerusalem Bible Compact Reader's Edition!! Mines is a dark blue leather and was published by Eyre and Spottiswoode. It's an absolute joy to own and I got it for a very reasonable price. The lectionary where I love - Scotland - is based on the Jerusalem Bible and the Grail Psalms so this is brilliant. Your review inspired me to go look out a copy so thanks and God bless